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Domestic Freight

The primary source for domestic freight data is the Commodity Flow Survey (CFS), co-sponsored by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the Census Bureau as part of the Economic Census, which is conducted every 5 years. 2002 is the most recent year for which comprehensive nationwide freight data are available for all modes of transportation and for local, intercity, interstate, and U.S. international freight shipments.

The CFS is a survey of shippers that tells where and how goods are shipped in the United States. It measures the value and weight of goods shipped by manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade, and selected retail businesses. The survey asks domestic business establishments what goods went out the door — but not what goods came in the door. As a result, it covers domestic shipments and exports but not imports. It is the only national public data source that provides information on all the freight modes, including multi-modal, as well as both local and long-distance shipments.

For more, see Coverage and Limitations of the CFS Freight Data.

Final data from the 2002 CFS are available from BTS in the reports Freight Shipments in America and 2002 Commodity Flow Survey, United States (Final). Freight Shipments in America presents the latest national-level information on freight movements in the United States. It draws data from the CFS plus several other additional data sources. The report describes the freight American businesses transported in 2002 and relates these shipments to trends in the U.S. economy. It highlights freight transportation by transportation mode, type of commodity, distance shipped, and shipment size.

Final 2002 CFS data, including individual state, export, and hazardous materials data, will be available in late 2004. For the most recent data on available on these topics, see the 1997 and 1993 Commodity Flow Surveys.

See a graphic display of the relationships between U.S. freight movement and the transportation infrastructure, on GeoFreight, a free tool on CD-ROM, developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation from the 1997 CFS data and the 1998 Freight Analysis Framework.